When an alarm occurs, now more than ever home and business owners want to know what’s happening when they’re away from their property. Remote video allows them to look in and see firsthand what is taking place. This burgeoning service offering not only enables the client to see who or what caused the alarm, it also allows them to advise the central station whether or not to dispatch police to the scene.
Remote video is a great way to avoid false alarm fines; end users and dealers alike can more readily maintain positive, working relationships with local law enforcement. Remote video is also proving especially valuable to an increasing number of installing security contractors by delivering new and lucrative sources of recurring monthly revenue (RMR). Combining surveillance camera feeds with Web-enabled mobile devices can open the door to upsell additional RMR-generating services, such as lighting, temperature, gate control, among numerous other lifestyle and business efficiency enhancements.
The various technologies behind today’s remote video offerings are similar yet different, and all of them without exception take advantage of the mobile connection. Let’s examine the differing platforms upon which this exciting technology is built, plus what it takes to offer these services to your clientele.
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Comparing and Contrasting Technologies Behind Remote Video
There are two basic technologies on the market today that are powering remote video offerings. The first one uses traditional remote video technology in conjunction with a central station software solution designed to push relevant video clips and data to a subscriber’s mobile device.
“We’ve been using remote video systems to monitor our subscriber’s facilities since the technology became available on the market,” says Mike Jones, CIO of Canton, Ohio-based Buckeye Protective Service, a provider of wholesale monitoring services. “Today, we commonly send alarm data and relevant images to our subscribers’ smartphones to keep them better informed. In other words, there are no middlemen involved when using our technology — we handle all alarm calls, including video, from beginning to end.”
The second method entails the use of a third-party solution — similar to a clearinghouse — where onsite IP camera images are transmitted over the Internet to cloud-based servers. Here they are processed, stored and retransmitted to the associated end user’s mobile devices, as well as the alarm dealer’s appointed central station.
In both cases a mobile app enables the facilitating entity, be it a third-party clearinghouse or a central station, to send push notifications when an alarm event occurs. Camera images, along with basic alarm data, are sent to the end user so they can quickly make a decision whether to dispatch the police. In some cases the app offers soft buttons that allow the end user to immediately indicate whether the central station should dispatch or abort.
Processing video can also be divided into two additional camps: one where both the alarm data and video are sent to a third-party processing center; secondly, the alarm panel sends alarm data directly to the central station while video images are forwarded to the third-party service before they are retransmitted to the end user as push notifications and the central station in the form of a Web link.
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